Wednesday, March 23, 2011

End of the road

What went wrong?

That question will stick with the Klippers all summer after the Yorkton Terriers held on for a 3-2 win tonight to sweep the Sherwood Conference final.

The Klippers played their best game of the series and made the Terriers work for the win, right to the wire, but that won't be any consolation to the nine players who played their last game in junior hockey.

Andrew Dommett, Johnny Calkins, Braeden Adamyk, Sanfred King, Spencer Braaten, Kurt Leedahl, John Sonntag, Cody Lund and Sean Cahill saw their junior careers end tonight.

It's a bitter pill to swallow for a group that had RBC Cup aspirations this season but couldn't get things figured out when it mattered most.

Full credit to the Terriers, who brought their A game from puck drop on Friday to the final buzzer tonight. They were the better team and now advance to their second straight SJHL final, against either La Ronge or Melfort.

As scary as La Ronge is, I like the Terriers' odds against anyone if they continue to play like they did in this series.

As for tonight's game, the Klippers were the better team off the hop but Yorkton again took a 2-0 lead to the first intermission. Riley Paterson scored the first goal at 9:50 on a rebound that Cahill bobbled, and Justin Buzzeo scored glove side off a cross-ice feed from Clarke Breitkreuz with 4:05 to play in the period.

It was looking like the same old story from the first three games.

About five minutes into the second period, with the Klippers' goalless streak sitting at 162 minutes, 22 seconds, they finally beat Devin Peters.

John Sonntag obliterated Buzzeo at one end, and that led to a quick rush the other way for Taylor Wasden, a guy who rarely gets on the scoresheet but the kind you need at playoff time. Wasden lit the lamp to get the WCEC crowd on their feet and the Klippers back in the game.

Three minutes after that, Sonntag rocked Robbie Ciolfi behind the Klipper net. Shortly after, Andrew Dommett scored his first goal of the series to tie it up.

The momentum was all on the Klippers' side at that point and they spent the next few minutes peppering Peters and the Terriers.

Just when they were getting close - stop me if you've heard this before - the Terriers struck back, with Blaine Tendler springing Buzzeo on a breakaway at 15:19. Buzzeo deked Cahill blocker side and the netminder got most of it, but it trickled in.

Yorkton carried most of the play in the third period, and Sean Cahill stood on his head to give his team a chance to draw even again. He made some massive stops, and he can be proud of the final game of his junior career.

The Klippers also had a few excellent chances, but they couldn't get one past Peters. The closest they came was with about 15 seconds left, when Sanfred King lobbed a Hail Mary toward the net from the right half-wall. The puck got through traffic and dinged the left post before bouncing off to the side.

Here's a post-game interview with Terriers coach Trent Cassan. I'll wait a day or two before getting Rockie Zinger's thoughts.

Over the next few days, I'll have a post-mortem on the blog as well as some personal news.


  1. To answer your question, What went wrong? Not trading the cancer and keeping Larry would be the first thing that comes to my mind... The Klippers had lots of very good "individual" hockey players.... In order to win a championship you need "team" players..

  2. Woulda, coulda, shoulda...... I think the focus now better be to figure out how to keep our "team" players for next year. The board has a lot of work to do in the next few months. And I really hope they talk to all those involved before they make those decisions. This team has had enough drama.

  3. Never heard Larry's name when the team went 19-5-2 down the stretch and got by Weyburn! Now all of a sudden it's a coaching problem and some "cancer" in the room? Why not just give Yorkton their due. They were healthy, Klippers clearly not. How many line combinations were the Klippers forced to put together over the last few games due to injuries and suspensions? That is tough during the playoffs. Yorkton used the same lineup for the most part and were going so good that a talented player like Struble couldn't get back in the lineup.
    Chalk it up to things not going our way this year. End of story.

  4. Nobody thought the Titanic would ever sink either.

    Kudos to the 2nd poster about drama. Maybe look at all the positive things this team did this past year and try and get over a very tough playoff loss. Then maybe we can start putting the pieces in place for another good year.

  5. The Klippers got beat by the better team. It certainly didn't help Kindersley that they were banged up.

    Yorkton is going to be a tough team to beat for whoever comes out of the North. However, I would say the team coming out of the North will have been better prepared by their move through the playoffs.

    La Ronge found themselves down in the series early and now holds a 3-1 lead after coming from behind in game 3 and finding a way to win game 4 despite getting outshot.

    If it's Melfort... well they just beat La Ronge three in a row (which hasn't happened all season). That would speak for itself.

    Yorkton waltzed through the first two rounds. Will they have the intestinal fortitude to battle out a long series? Guess we'll find out. Regardless, again, they are scary good.

  6. What went wrong? Well, I think everybody knows what went wrong... the players got their wish - little discipline and a buddy for a coach. [A lot of] the players have admitted, they should have kept Larry around/they needed Larry. Had that been the case, they wouldn't have went 4-0 against Yorkton. Yes, I agree, Yorkton is a strong team and deserved to win, but I strongly believe had the circumstances been different and had there been some leadership, this playoff run would have been a totally different story.
    And as for some of the Klippers being banged up - yes, that may be the case, but it's a poor excuse. It just means everyone has to step up their game, and have the mental focus required for this game.
    I really hope the board re-evaluates what happened and makes some much needed changes. If not, I think they're asking for (more) trouble.
    All in all - well done Yorkton - and best of luck to them!

  7. why is everyone saying the board needs to figure things out yes we lost to yorkton yes we lose 9 20 year old but look at the offensive power we still have next year duzan, mizzy, w.king,hoffer kissick we have a great offensive core defense will be alright if we can bring in 1 or 2 20 year olds and as for goaltending i think mac deserves to get a shot ya he had a few bad games but before we got cahill he was 1-4 then after that he went 6-2 and looked very good, i think if we can get a couple players for the right price we can be as strong if not stronger nesxt season. we lost because we didnt have the heart that yorkton did or the expirence there players had, and if u dont think so i think being outscored 24-4 proves my point

  8. Hey Larry Lover, how about when he lands his next coaching job you pack up your bandwagon and follow him! I guess those players that want him around should be traded since they won't have the same philosophy as the new coach.

    As for injuries being an excuse, that's not an excuse, just a fact.

  9. Wondering how many of our players are off to Humbolt in the Braaten trade?

    I think we have a very good core group of players. I can't see us wanting to get rid of any of them. We just need to add nine to replace what we've lost. But do all of them want to stay here?

  10. what r you talking about since larry left they used the plays larry used rockie didnt change anything other than how he delivered the message to the boys larry knows more about the game of hockey than anyone who says anything on here he is a successful coach and whoever gets him will be lucky, yes he old school and yes hes hard, but we always had contender teams with larry.

  11. To the last poster. You hit the nail on the head, it was how Rockie delivered the message. That's all this is about. Not debating whether Larry is a good coach or not. The x's and o's are in any coaches manual. Some minor tweaks here and there, most teams use similar systems (after all, how many forechecks can you come up with?).

    Your team makes the final four and you don't consider that a contender? Remeber this was a team constructed by the former coach with help from a few scouts along the way as well. Not fair to judge Mr. Zinger until he has had a couple of years behind the bench with players developed under his guidance. At least then you will have some information to compare.

    Good luck to the future Klipper teams.